Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Gnomeo and Juliet is Old News (Text)
It seems to be the curse of the internet - old news is being reported as... well... news, on a regular basis. Just today IMDB linked to an article on their main page, saying how Matt Damon turned down the lead in Avatar to film The Bourne Ultimatum - but guess what? That's been on the Avatar trivia page since I saw the film almost a year ago. Hell, it stuck in my head because I couldn't believe how long Avatar was in post production, given The Bourne Ultimatum came out about 2 years earlier. And this sort of thing is turning up everywhere; this whole "Sumo wrestling scandal" which has been reported in the newspapers recently; it's not as if this hasn't been reported before, or had an entire chapter in a book dedicated to it, I don't know, 5 years ago?
I Mean, Come on - there's a Sumo on the cover for God's sake!
By far the worst offences we see are, of course, those articles which occasionally turn up in The Times, or other such reputable newspapers, that report on something which turned up in an article on Cracked months before, and treat it as news. Here's a hint, guys, if it's been reported as a fact on Cracked.com, you can bet the actual research was conducted at least a year before that, so it probably isn't worth reporting as news. We expect MSN to report that sort of thing, because hell, 90% of their articles are stolen from Cracked, but not The Times...
But now we suddenly have people going on about Gnomeo and Juliet, saying how ridiculous it is that you could make a movie based on nothing more than saying "Hey guys, check it out - what if we make Romeo and Juliet, but with GNOMES?". And I see their point. They're not complaining about the movie itself, as they haven't seen it yet, but they're pointing out how ridiculous it is that a movie was green-lit based solely on the fact that it has a pun in the title. I agree with this. And you know what? I agreed with this back in 2004 when I read "The Book of Bunny Suicides", and noticed this on the Author's Biography page:
That's right - Gnomeo and Juliet was originally slated for release in 2005, but is only now coming out, this year, in 2011. Perhaps if everyone commenting on what a stupid idea the movie is had actually bothered to do their research then it might occur to them that there's a good chance the only reason production was held back 6 years is because Disney realised they couldn't base a movie off of just one pun? That would be my guess, anyway.
In their defence, this wasn't released until 2007...
Think about it - in 2005, there were only a handful of Animated movies which had made it big: Toy Story, Toy Story 2 (of course), Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and a non-pixar entry from Shrek. It wasn't the right time at that point to try and sell an animated movie to audiences based simply on one pun - the fact that Romeo and Gnomeo sound similar, and Gnomes are inherently funny.
Ok, so it's a Leprechaun, but you see my point, right?
However, look at the animated movie landscape now - hundreds of animated movies are coming out, and they're all making money. Toy Story 3 is nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, films like 'Up' and 'Wall-E' are some of the most talked about movies of recent years, and even films made by less prestigious creative teams, such as 'Megamind', or 'How to Train your Dragon', are hauling in the cash like nobody's business. Combine this with the recent obsession with 3D (they made a SAW movie in 3D for God's Sake!), and the studios know that you don't have to have 'Toy Story' calibre writing to make a 3D animated film sell, you just need to advertise the shit out of it. And so, after spending 6 years in absentia, the movie I thought would never be made is now undoubtedly going to be one of Disney's biggest earners of the year, and it still only exists because of one stupid pun.
Then again, look at their other big film this year...
And with a cast list that goes a little something like: Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Jason Statham, and God knows how many others - it looks as though the stars are backing this one to be a winner too.
They're not all that dissimilar, really...